Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Gaza's Bulldozer of Peace

I've got to say that I've been transfixed today by the images coming out of the Gaza Strip of the withdrawal of Israeli settlers from that most miserable of occupied territories. I've long been a pessimist about the solubility of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, largely because of the seeming omnipresence of hardliners on both sides who in spite of all reason persist in maintaining that some dusty hillock or field is the land given to them by their God and shall be never taken away from them. Today's events, however, show that demonstration of resolve and determination can overcome even the most irrational of fundamentalisms to move a trouble region a small step down the road towards peace.

As much as I am loath to heap any praise on Ariel Sharon, who we must remember is the one who set off the current intifada in 2000 with his provocative visit to the Temple Mount, amongst other sins, today he showed both how politics really is the art of the possible, and how sometimes it just takes a "bulldozer" to get anything done in the Middle East.

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